Half Million Israelis and Palestinians Petition for Two-state Solution

This story deserves more attention in the U.S. media, though I suspect once the marches actually begin it will receive some coverage. Half a million petitioners is too high a number to be a fringe group. Popular support for the idea of a two-state solution is the easier part, and I think the only possible way to bring calm. It’s opposed mostly by the far left — because they prefer a one-state solution, and the Israeli right because they oppose a Palestinian state in any borders, or the Palestinian right (or is it really left?) which opposes any compromise with Israel period. In addition, as this article points out, the Israeli left was largely discredited during the Intifada and after the Gaza pullout resulted in Hamas’ rise to power in the Gaza strip and almost daily Qassam attacks against Israeli towns. Many Israelis who supported the Gaza pullout now realize it was a mistake and won’t support the same in the West Bank. But in spite of those things, support for a two-state solution may be gaining momentum again because the basic logic behind the need for its implementation stands.

The details of this two-state solution is where it gets messy (what will its borders be? etc.) A withdrawal to the 1967 lines has become a buzz-phrase without much meaning. Most likely as part of a final-status agreement, if there is to be one, Israel will conduct a partial withdrawal but I doubt any Israeli Prime Minister, let alone a weak Olmert, would have the capacity or support, whether from the public or his coalition partners, to conduct a full withdrawal from the West Bank. It should also be noted the Israeli army’s order to seize Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages on Oct. 9, (in what analysts consider a rush to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem before the Annapolis conference), will only make a viable Palestinian state, (and thus a two-state solution) less likely.

Even then, a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines would require a pullout from the Golan Heights too, and just yesterday Olmert said during a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that Golan Heights negotiations with Syria won’t be on the agenda during the November talks in Annapolis because he wants to focus exclusively on the Palestinian negotiations. One impossible problem at a time, no?

(Jerusalem Post) More than half a million Israelis and Palestinians have signed a petition calling on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to reach a peace agreement within the next year based on a two-state solution and an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. The petition is being organized by a non-partisan organization called the OneVoice movement, which is planning to hold simultaneous rallies in both Tel Aviv and Jericho next week that will be broadcast around the world in an effort to garner support for the two-state solution.

The moves come as Israeli left-wing organizations with similar ideologies, such as Peace Now and backers of the informal “Geneva Initiative” proposed by Yossi Beilin, have become marginalized in Israeli society following the breakdown of political negotiations at Camp David seven years ago, and the subsequent outbreak of Palestinian violence…

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